Bears

See which NFL player got death threats on Twitter

739746.jpg

See which NFL player got death threats on Twitter

From Comcast SportsNetSANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- San Francisco 49ers placekicker David Akers said Thursday he received death threats on Twitter and closed the account.Akers received the death threats late last month, but is unsure at the number of posts directed at him because he did not go further back on his account to see how many."It was Twitter stuff. I got off there, so I won't deal with that anymore," Akers said Thursday.Once he initially saw them, he reported it to team and NFL security personnel. The 49ers said they were aware of the situation, and so was the league."I didn't go back and look any further," Akers said. "I hadn't been on there for weeks, so I didn't go back and look at any old ones after that. I don't take anything lightly. You really can't. I went through the proper people and what they felt like was safe."It was Akers last season who came to the defense of teammate Kyle Williams when he faced threats following two costly fumbles in the NFC championship game, a 20-17 overtime loss to the New York Giants.The 38-year-old Akers also revealed Thursday -- when newly signed kicker Billy Cundiff practiced alongside him in what has become a competition -- that he underwent double hernia surgery last February following his All-Pro season.Akers then went to see the same doctor in Philadelphia after a Nov. 25 game at New Orleans this season to have injections after the area flared up when he fell during practice working on kickoffs.Unlike 2011, when he made 44 of 52 field goals, Akers has been in a slump this season. He is 29 for 42 on field goals.He missed overtime kicks twice against the Rams this season, with the 49ers losing at St. Louis and tying at home. Akers had a field goal blocked in a loss at Seattle on Dec. 23 that Richard Sherman returned 90 yards for a touchdown.He missed two more wide left in a home victory against Arizona in the regular-season finale last Sunday before bouncing back to make two.Akers began the season by making a 63-yarder in a season-opening win at Green Bay in which the ball bounced off the crossbar and through the uprights."It's a game, it's a business, it's my career, but it's not who I am," Akers said of football. "I would definitely give that 63-yarder back to make the two kicks against St. Louis. People talk about my demeanor being down, listen, I take my job seriously. I feel when I miss kicks I let the team, the organization, the fans down. I take it personal."

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Can the Bears make enough plays to beat the Carolina Panthers?

Everything changed for the Bears after going up 17-3 last week against the Baltimore Ravens. Mitchell Trubisky’s 27-yard touchdown to Dion Sims was immediately followed by Bobby Rainey running a kickoff back 96 yards for a touchdown, then the offense was bogged down with three fumbles (two lost) on three consecutive possessions. 

But Adrian Amos seemed to seal the game with his 90-yard pick six — that is, until Michael Campanaro ran Pat O’Donnell’s punt back 77 yards for what wound up being a game-tying touchdown after a two-point conversion.

The point is the Bears should’ve cruised to a comfortable win last week; a few critical mistakes didn’t allow that to happen. The Bears haven’t led at the end of the fourth quarter this year, a pretty strong indicator they haven’t played a complete game yet despite having two wins. 

The Carolina Panthers have road wins over the Detroit Lions and New England Patriots this year, and only lost to the Philadelphia Eagles by five points last week (despite Cam Newton throwing three interceptions). The bet here is the Bears keep things close on the backs of a strong defense, but either can’t make enough plays or make too many mistakes to win. 

Prediction: Panthers 20, Bears 16

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

chrisbosiochanges.jpg
USA TODAY

Offseason of change begins with Cubs firing pitching coach Chris Bosio

"Of course," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said in the middle of the National League Championship — he would like his coaches back in 2018. Pitching coach Chris Bosio told the team's flagship radio station this week that the staff expected to return next year. President of baseball operations Theo Epstein didn't go that far during Friday afternoon's end-of-season news conference at Wrigley Field, but he did say: "Rest assured, Joe will have every coach back that he wants back."

That's Cub: USA Today columnist Bob Nightengale first reported Saturday morning that Bosio had been fired, the team declining a club contract option for next year and making a major influence on the Wrigleyville rebuild a free agent. Epstein and Bosio did not immediately respond to text messages and the club has not officially outlined the shape of the 2018 coaching staff.

Those exit meetings on Friday at Wrigley Field are just the beginning of an offseason that could lead to sweeping changes, with the Cubs looking to replace 40 percent of their rotation, identify an established closer (whether or not that's Wade Davis), find another leadoff option and maybe break up their World Series core of hitters to acquire pitching. 

The obvious candidate to replace Bosio is Jim Hickey, Maddon's longtime pitching coach with the Tampa Bay Rays who has Chicago roots and recently parted ways with the small-market franchise that stayed competitive by consistently developing young arms like David Price and Chris Archer.

Of course, Maddon denied that speculation during an NLCS where the Los Angeles Dodgers dominated the Cubs in every phase of the game and the manager's bullpen decisions kept getting second-guessed.

Bosio has a big personality and strong opinions that rocked the boat at times, but he brought instant credibility as an accomplished big-league pitcher who helped implement the team's sophisticated game-planning system.

Originally a Dale Sveum hire for the 2012 season/Epstein regime Year 1 where the Cubs lost 101 games, Bosio helped coach up and market short-term assets like Ryan Dempster, Scott Feldman, Matt Garza and Jeff Samardzija. 

Those win-later trades combined with Bosio's expertise led to a 2016 major-league ERA leader (Kyle Hendricks) and a 2015 NL Cy Young Award winner (Jake Arrieta) plus setup guys Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. and All-Star shortstop Addison Russell.

Bosio helped set the foundation for the group that won last year's World Series and has made three consecutive trips to the NLCS. But as the Cubs are going to find out this winter, there is a shelf life to everything, even for those who made their mark during a golden age of baseball on the North Side.